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Vale – Joan Kirner AC – Willy Lit Fest Founding Patron

JoanKirner at Willy Lit Fest

All of us at Willy Lit Fest mourn the loss of our founding Patron, friend and supporter Joan Kirner. Joan was deeply involved in our festival from its very beginnings: she inspired the launch of our writing prizes the Adas, acting as judge, presenter and mentor. Joan added lustre and grace to our prize-givings and openings. She was generous with her time, inspiring with her speeches and unfailingly gracious and obliging, despite the demands on her time as a busy ex-Premier and elder stateswoman.

She was the perfect role model: decent, funny, clever, an inspiring mentor…the perfect teacher: particularly to the many aspiring young writers, like gifted poet Chloe Wilson, with whom she forged a special bond during their Ada judging days. Chloe is pictured with Joan and our other beloved WLF icon, the late Robin Grove, at the 2008 Ada prize announcements.

Joan was a great community person and that’s why we loved her. In 2010, after a bout of ill health, she stepped down as an active Patron. Typically, she made sure we had a terrific successor ready to step in in the wonderful Terry Bracks. As Terry said on assuming the role: who can say No to Joan!

So Vale dear Joan. We will miss you next week at our festival; you have truly made your mark and your legacy: especially your literary legacy, will live on.

Our heartfelt condolences to Joan’s family.